How many glasses of water should we be drinking every day.... and how big is a glass of water anyway?
In this episode, Lyndi answers a question from Pam about how much water we really should be drinking. Does one set number apply to all people? And is intuitive thirst something we should be subscribing to?
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Oh, hey, everyone, and welcome to the No Wellness Wankery Podcast. I'm your co-host, Lyndi.
Hey, I am Jenna D'Apice, and we are loving these episodes because we're getting so many questions coming through, and it's such a, so many times you're like, I want to just ask Lyndi a question and there's a lot of questions come through and now we finally have a platform where she can answer them all which is really exciting and this week we have a question coming from Pam. Pam, what is your question?
Hi Lindy, I have a question regarding water. Do we really need two litres of water a day or is it just a number like calories that has been invented? Or should we drink water like we should our food? Should we listen to our bodies and drink when we feel thirsty? I really struggle to physically fit in two liters of water a day." It's such a good question, isn't it? Do we need to drink two liters of water a day? So firstly, the first thing to notice is that the recommendation of two liters a day is a bit of a blanket term, right? So if someone who's six foot five is supposedly meant to have the same amount of water as someone who's five foot tall, which that doesn't make sense. That's the first little like notes to go, hmm, I don't know about that. The other thing I will say is that by the time that you are thirsty, research shows that you're probably a little bit dehydrated already. So there is a bit of a drink when thirsty or intuitive thirst kind of movement. But the challenge with that thinking is that, well, does that mean we're just allowing ourselves to get dehydrated and rehydrated and all that. So I don't know if I believe in the idea of we should just wait till thirst to drink water because water is a very, very fundamental thing for us. When we don't get enough hydration, our body doesn't really function that brilliantly. It has a bit more of a hard time processing through some of the things we need to process and we also are going to notice a huge difference in our energy levels. So I don't know if you've ever noticed but if you don't drink enough water, you get really tired. It's one of those like it causes fatigue. So we do need to be drinking enough water but the answer to the question is, is it eight liters? Oh, eight liters.
It's two liters.
And no, I'd say I don't think it is that. So one thing to remember is that we actually get food. Food is going to be a source of liquid as well and hydration.
That's what I always think because I do struggle with water intake sometimes. I go through phases of not really drinking all that much water and then I think, well I've survived. Like I didn't feel like deathly sick. I'm still alive. So I think I must not like I'm drinking no water. There must be water in food that I'm eating.
Oh absolutely, especially fresh produce or frozen. So things like fruits and vegetables and if you have like a cup of tea that's also going to count if it's herbal. The other thing to notice that there are things that dehydrate us so of course exercise, the weather and coffee. So they could basically for every cup of coffee that you have we should be having an extra glass of water that is the recommendation. Oh no. Oh no. And it's also a cool fact about coffee. Coffee doesn't give us more energy it just stops us from being able to feel when we're tired. So that's just a nice thing to notice about coffee.
Is that true? Yeah. What about some of the things that sometimes people add to their water to make it nicer so they can drink more of it? Like, I don't know, cordial or
lemon or lime or tea or all of these things you add to water. Yeah, so I guess a dentist would probably raise their hands at this point and be like, that's not great for your teeth. So I would not be recommending that, especially something like, I know this whole lemon water movement is a bit of like... The lemon water movement is huge. Oh no, guys, please don't do this. I think unless you're somehow finding a way to bypass it through, past your teeth, so it's not eroding your teeth, I'd say it's not a habit I would recommend doing. And there is no research, I looked into it, no research that says that lemon water helps to detoxify your body, your lungs, your skin, your kidneys and your liver. They really do a great job of detoxing your body without you needing to detox them for them. But would you recommend lemon or limes in water if you're just like, I'm not drinking
enough and I need something to encourage myself to drink more?
Occasionally, but definitely not every day. No, because of the acidity of your teeth, I'd say that's a bad thing. I hate this in nutritionism where we are okay to sacrifice one part of our body for another part. Like why you sacrifice your teeth, the thing that you need to chew, so crucial for your health and being able to extract nutrients and we're willing to sacrifice it so we could potentially drink more water? No. I'd say there are other ways. Maybe herbal tea would be a better way to do it if you wanted to increase that water intake. Something I do that I find very useful is every time I sit down to a meal, I do have a glass of water. And that just means I get three glasses of water a day. Does that mean I have to get eight glasses? No, and I don't. But even that small little thing can certainly help. The thing to note as well, if you're getting eight glasses of water a day, I don't know if you've ever tried, you pee all the time. Yeah, and then sometimes you feel like, oh, I'm drinking too much water because I can't stop peeing. It's exhausting to have to go to the bathroom and it interrupts your day. I think from a bladder perspective as well, something that we can often end up doing is I think a pelvic health physio would love to talk about this, but this idea of so often, especially if you've had a baby, we tend to go to the bathroom really often as soon as we notice that there's that tiniest of feeling that our bladder is filling up and as a result is our cue, our bladder starts to tell us to go to the bathroom more frequently before it's even full. So we can get into a state where we're peeing all the time and we do kind of want our bladders to be able to be strengthened. This is something that Angela James talks about in the Back to Basics app, which is a pelvic health physio. She loves this topic. But I don't think going to the bathroom frequently either is a brilliant thing to be doing. I would say generally, if you are thirsty, absolutely respond to that thirst and drink. I think make a small effort to drink a little bit more water during the day if you're not drinking enough, especially if you're noticing that you are quite tired or the weather is hot or you're, you know, going to exercise. But do we need to be aiming for eight glasses a day? I think that's a bit of an arbitrary figure and a very simple way to work out if you are probably drinking enough water. Now let's say you're not having any supplements. If you go to the toilet and your wee comes out very light yellow and it doesn't have a strong smell, that's probably a good indication that you're hydrated. If you're going to the toilet and your wee is quite dark coloured and it does have a bit of a strong smell, you need to go drink some more water. The reason I say supplements is supplements can change the colour of your pee and they can change the smell as well sometimes. So that can be a bit of an outlier, but that's a useful trick to try. That sounds like a good trick because sometimes I feel like you can go to the toilet and it just looks like you're peeing out water. Yeah, exactly.
And it's like you've had too much water.
Is that too much?
Well, you can drink too much water, right? So basically if you're drinking too much water, you're throwing off your electrolyte balance. So like your sodium in your blood, changing your blood volume. So we don't want to be overdoing it with water. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.
I've also heard this before, I don't know if this is true or not, but taking smaller sips of your water actually lets your body absorb it as opposed to just every now and again sculling heaps of water makes you just pee it out.
I've never heard that and I don't know if that is something that is valid or not. It doesn't sound right. I'm not gonna put a lie. My little dietician brain's like, that doesn't seem legit.
I love saying things to you
and your eyes are ticking over. You're like, where did you get that from? I'm like, I don't know where I got it from.
Because Jenna, you don't really like drinking water?
No, I do, but I just really like a post COVID world of not having my desk at work. I would have a bottle, fill it up, go to the kitchen to talk people, fill up my water bottle. I feel like when I'm doing that I was in the really routine, but when I'm just at home, it's more that I don't not enjoy drinking what I forget. And I've had like the water bottle with the times on it to try and make you, and then you just forget. And I'm like, oh the water bottle doesn't do
anything anymore. And then your thirst reminds you and it's like time to drink. Yeah. So I think something we can try and do is to stacking this habit of trying to stack it onto some other kind of activity that we're doing. Like I talked about how I went to Pilates and I forgot my water bottle. When I go to Pilates, I should think, okay, I need to have my water bottle in my hand and I should never leave the door without my water bottle. So it's like, how can we attach having water to certain locations? For example, you had attached your desk with having water. That was a location where you had water. So what else can we do? For me, it's my dining room table. Whenever I go to set my table to eat, I always put a glass of water. So what other kind of rituals can we create for you where maybe it's next to your bed in the morning, you have a glass of water, so when you wake up, you have your glass of water?
They could add up so quickly, really. If you had one next to your bed then you'd probably have one in the
morning and one before you go to sleep. Each meal, that's already five glasses. Yeah, you go for a walk and you're done. Also, how big's a glass by the way? Well... How big's a piece of string? I've always said it's a cup, 250 ml. Oh, that's small. Is that right? Yeah, but that's not a lot. No, it's not. It's a lot.
I feel like this water thing we've made more complicated than it needs to be.
And just throwing one more thing out there that alcohol is also dehydrating. So if you're having, they do generally say for each glass of alcohol you're adding in a glass of water. But anyway guys I hope that it helps you feel a bit more calm around. Yes get water, enjoy your water, but don't get obsessed with it like all things when it comes to health.
And as always remember if you have any questions send them through and we'll love to answer them.
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